There were renewed calls yesterday for a full cross-border public inquiry into the Omagh bombing as relatives of those killed gathered for a remembrance service.
Over 10 years have passed since a Real IRA car bomb exploded in the County Tyrone town but as yet no one has been convicted in connection with the atrocity, which claimed the lives of 29 people and two unborn twins.
On Friday the Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, said he would support calls for a cross-border inquiry.
Yesterday’s service had been organised by Omagh Support and Self Help Group.
Several members, including chairman Michael Gallagher and vice-chairman Kevin Skelton, had boycotted the earlier official event.
They were unhappy with the council’s choice of wording on memorials at the bomb site and at the Garden of Remembrance, claiming that the inscriptions do not accurately acknowledge who was behind the atrocity.
“Many people have asked why we have had two memorial services, but the question should be why should we not have two memorial services?” Mr Gallagher told those gathered at the memorial garden on Drumragh Avenue.
“Over 10 years we have taken control of our own lives. We did not allow the terrorists to dictate to us back then and we will continue to do what is right for us.”
Several hundred people attended the 30-minute service during which Mr Gallagher, whose son Aiden was among the victims of the 1998 attack, repeated his calls for a full inquiry.
“The only proper tribute to the dead of Omagh 10 years on must be that a full cross-border public inquiry takes place,” he added. “We have not received justice in Omagh. It is not wreaths we need, it is justice and truth.”
Representatives from the British, Irish and Spanish governments attended the service, including delegates from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and the Consul General of Spain, Dr Felix Balbes.
Omagh District Council was also represented by its vice-chairman, Josephine Deehan, and former Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loane was in attendance.
Mr Gallagher opened the service which included short verses from Amy Reid, a cousin of Aiden Gallagher, and Claire Radford, whose brother Alan was among the many victims.
Then, for the second time is as many days, the town fell silent as the names of the dead were read out, before families placed floral tributes around the memorial wall.
Former Lebanon hostage Terry Waite, who spoke at Friday’s service, was not able to attend but sent a message of support which encouraged people affected by the atrocity to begin the difficult process of moving on.
“If I were with you today I would ask you to do one thing, and that is to look to the future,” he said.
“A new generation has grown up in Omagh and is it to them that we should look. Static memorials have their place but living memorials also have tremendous value.
“Would it not be wonderful if a scholarship fund might be established in the name of the young people who died 10 years ago? Perhaps one which would enable a young person from the town to spend time with the United Nations or at a university who engaged in peace studies.
“If one of these could be established it would one way of bringing good out of tragedy.”
In his closing address, Mr Gallagher praised the support of the media for keeping Omagh in the spotlight over the last decade.
“They are the people who have not deserted us and who have consistently supported us during the last 10 years,” he said.